Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Creativity Cleanse: Day 1/21

It's day one of my creativity cleanse, early morning of day one, and already I've received an interesting lesson.  My bed tends to stack up with books that I've started but not yet finished.  The one I chose to be what I read on my cleanse is Ordinary Magic, Everyday Life as Spiritual Path, edited by John Welwood.  My magic marker was firmly planted on page 2 of the introduction where I had stopped weeks ago.  When I picked it up again, the first thing I read was:
So the first step on any path of personal or spiritual development is to become aware of       how we contract and turn away from our experience.
My life is so good and I am so grateful for where I am right now that I've been turning away from the discontent I've been feeling, pushing it aside, reminding myself that I should be feeling nothing but gratitude and joy.
Welwood continues:  When we habitually contract against an area of our experience, such as anger (or discontent, my addition), it's as though we create a hole or dead spot in our being.
What a validation that this cleanse is the right thing to be doing and this is the right book to be reading.  As I sat contemplating this, I noticed Roxy.  My housemate is traveling and I have dog duty.  Roxy is an aging but still feisty pomeranian with a short, squatty body.  Her constant companion is Buddy, a large Shih Tsu.  Because Lynne's gone, they hang out on my bed ... except Roxy can't jump up to my bed and she has an old injury that makes it impossible to lift her without causing pain.  So, I put a small foot stool by the bed and she used it easily to get up to the bed.

However, this morning, I nudged it out of the way a bit.  It's still by the bed but using it would require an angled approach.  As I sat reading in my chair, Buddy hopped up on the bed and Roxy wanted to follow ... really wanted to follow, doing her normal yo-yo dance trying to use determination to overcome her physical limits.  Over and over she tried leaping onto the bed but to no avail.  In between the yo-yoing, she would go back to the stool and test it but there was something about the angle that intimidated her ... she couldn't see the path to her destination.  The process played out repeatedly.  Leaping, examining the stool, leaping again, examining the stool again.  

Finally, I moved the stool about three inches.  It was still the same distance from the bed but it made it more of a straight shot.  I patted the bed, said you can do it and she hopped onto the stool and then onto the bed like she had done it all her life and promptly went to sleep.

There's a lesson here ... perhaps many.  Roxy didn't want to take an interim step; she just wanted to leap onto the bed like her Buddy.  She also couldn't see the path when the stool was in an unfamiliar angle.  She didn't know she could do it.  It was only when it was in a more familiar position and I was encouraging her, that she did it easily and effortlessly.

So I ask myself:  What's the interim step, or steps, I'm missing?  Who or what do I need to encourage me to do what is really quite easy and simple?  I'll take these questions with me and know that it's not a bad beginning for my first day of my creativity cleanse.

About the image:  I've been picking up California buckeyes.  I love the color of them and when they dry out they darken and wrinkle and become even more beautiful.  I've read that if you oil them, they harden and become a very rich brown and don't wrinkle.  Anyway, I'm going to oil a bunch of them for the KPFA show in San Francisco.  They are supposed to be lucky so I'm going to give them away in the booth.  The leaves surrounding the buckeye are just leaves I've picked up on my deck ... not buckeye leaves.


  1. Day 1 -- I learned a lot yesterday and one of the statements that really resonated was a quote by a character in Hemingways, The Sun Also Rises. He is sitting in a bar, drinking, too much, as he always did when someone asks him how he ended up there. It was a gradual decline the character answers until suddenly, the decline became where he was at.

    Maybe creativity -- its use or abuse or disuse -- is the same, it's a slow ebbing into or away from belief until, we do not question its presence, or its absence.

    Thanks my friend. You inspire me!

  2. Louise ... I love it that you're on this journey too ... and everyone else is invited to play, too!

    I agree that creativity is not something we do ... it's something we are, something that flows through us and, unless we block it or create barriers to the flow, it flows into its own natural channels. This 21-day "cleanse," is an opportunity to recognize how we block it so that we can be a clear channel for that flow. What fun!

  3. Gorgeous photograph. And I love watching you think and respond to the things around you...

  4. Thanks Diane ... I'm delighted that we're on such similar journey's together.